If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Vintage Contemporaries) By Sappho, Anne Carson (Translated by) Cover Image

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

By Sappho, Anne Carson (Translated by)

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Staff Reviews


"yes! radiant lyre speak to me

become a voice"

Dive into the dream-like writing of an ancient Greek poet who has lasted the test of time. Read about longing for past lovers, violets & hyacinths, "altars smoking with frankincense," and burning requests to the gods for living (and loving) to be a little easier. Not only is this one of the earliest texts we have of lesbian attraction, this translation by classicist Anne Carson is beautifully rendered with copious notes.

— From Shannon Rae

In this "gorgeous translation" (The New York Times), one of our most fearless and original poets provides a tantalizing window onto the genius of a woman whose lyric power spans millennia. 

Of the nine books of lyrics the ancient Greek poet Sappho is said to have composed, only one poem has survived complete. The rest are fragments. In this miraculous new translation, acclaimed poet and classicist Anne Carson presents all of Sappho’s fragments, in Greek and in English, as if on the ragged scraps of papyrus that preserve them, inviting a thrill of discovery and conjecture that can be described only as electric—or, to use Sappho’s words, as “thin fire ... racing under skin.” 

"Carson is in many ways [Sappho's] ideal translator.... Her command of language is hones to a perfect edge and her approach to the text, respectful yet imaginative, results in verse that lets Sappho shine forth." —Los Angeles Times
ANNE CARSON was born in Canada and has been a professor of Classics for over thirty years. Her awards and honors include the Lannan Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Trust Award for Excellence in Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations.
Product Details ISBN: 9780375724510
ISBN-10: 0375724516
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: August 12th, 2003
Pages: 416
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries
“[Sappho’s] verse has been elevated to new heights in [this] gorgeous translation.” —The New York Times

“This Sappho is whispering in our ear in a language we can understand.” —Time Out New York

“Carson is in many ways [Sappho’s] ideal translator....  Her command of language is honed to a perfect edge and her approach to the text, respectful yet imaginative, results in verse that lets Sappho shine forth.” —Los Angeles Times

“A selfless, faithful, and boldly delicate achievement.” —Boston Review